Islamabad - The Ari Roland Jazz Quartet from the United States joined local musicians for a performance blending American jazz and Pakistani classical music at the Pakistan National Council of the Arts.

A US embassy press statement issued yesterday said that approximately 450 people attended the event, which was organised by the US embassy in partnership with the Foundation for Arts, Culture and Education.

“We were extraordinarily inspired by the Pakistani classical musicians. Their technique is simply astounding, and yet everything they play is filled with emotion and storytelling,” Quartet leader Ari Roland said. “It was an experience we’ll never forget, and I hope we can welcome them in New York someday in the same way.”

The concert was part of the Ari Roland Jazz Quartet’s 12-day visit to Pakistan highlighting American music and culture during the US Black History Month.

During their tour, the quartet will perform concerts, present workshops, and play alongside Pakistani musicians in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad.

“Jazz is broad in its appeal, but one of the most purely American art forms. It developed in the southern United States in the early 20th Century when African American musicians merged European and African musical influences.

The result: a new, uniquely American sound,” said American Ambassador David Hale.  “It has a long history of integrating different musical styles, and so is the ideal art form to connect individuals and communities across cultures.”

The US embassy provides over Rs 100 million annually in support of arts programming in Pakistan. 

Each year, dozens of Pakistani musicians participate in programs like the Pakistani Showcase at South-by-Southwest Music Festival, the Dosti Music Project, Daniel Pearl World Music Days, and Music Mela with American government support.